Whenever people think about breast cancer, they often think about females (for instance, the pink ribbon) – but most people don’t realize that breast cancer is also possible in males. While male cases only make up approximately 1% of all breast cancer cases, it is just as serious in males as it is in females.
– A painless lump in the breast tissue
– Changes in the skin around the breast area, such as redness, puckering, dimpling, or scaling
– Discharge from the nipple
– Changes to your nipple, such as redness or a nipple that turns inward
– Bleeding from the nipple
Stages of Breast Cancer
–Stage I: The tumor is less than 2 centimeters large and hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes yet.
– Stage II: The tumor may be up to 5 centimeters large and may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes; or the tumor will be larger than 5 centimeters but will not have reached the lymph nodes yet.
– Stage III: The tumor will be larger than 5 centimeters and involve nearby lymph nodes.
– Stage IV: The cancer has already spread to other parts of the body.
Factors that Increase the Risk
– A family history of breast cancer
– Exposure to estrogen (such as estrogen-related drugs)
– Radiation exposure – for example, if you used radiation treatment for another cancer
– Klinefelter’s Syndrome
– Old age (breast cancer is most common in men ages 60-70)
– Excessive alcohol use
– Clinical Breast Exam: the doctor will use his/her fingertips to thoroughly examine your breasts for lumps or other abnormalities.
– Mammogram: an x-ray of your breasts.
– Breast Ultrasound: your doctor may conduct an ultrasound to further inspect an abnormality found during a clinical exam or a mammogram.
– Biopsy: the removal of suspicious tissue for inspection.
– Your doctor may collect some nipple discharge (if you are experiencing this symptom) to check for cancer cells.
– Surgery, where your doctor will attempt to remove the tumor and and surrounding tissue.
– Radiation, which will involve the use of high-energy beams (like x-rays) to attempt to kill cancer cells.
– Chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
– Hormone Therapy, which involves medication to kill off cancer cells that have become hormone-dependent.
– Targeted Therapy, which attacks specific abnormalities within cancer cells.
If you are a male with breast cancer, know a male with breast cancer, or even a female with breast cancer that needs support, it can be found at the YourShoes 24/7 Breast Cancer Support Center.
“Breast Cancer in Men” WebMD.
“Male Breast Cancer” MayoClinic.